A World Without Hackers?

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Imperialist

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Somebody tried to hack my computer, not knowing I had taken protection
against them. I expected somebody would hack my system sooner or later,
since I was practically the only one in the Usenet who preached the
unexpugated truth of millennia of history and the road of truth is a
hard one.

Recently, hackers hacked the web pages of Yahoo, ebay, and others.
Although Yahoo claims nothing was harmed, only the techies would know
for sure. They do take heavy backups, however, so not too much worry.

Nevertheless, hackers are like pests, a nuisiance. I had talked with a
system administrator, who said all hackers should be executed and their
executions should be broadcast all over the internet, like the burning
of the heretics at the stakes.

(Actually, I approve the latter.)

A hackerless world would be dull, but more stable. These firms above
wouldn't lose more profits, althought there was very little to begin
with.

hackers threaten the foundation of society, the system of trust. That's
why they are bad.

--
Freedom is not free. (The Imperialist)
A wise man's heart is at his right hand ,but
a fool's heart is at his left. (Ecclesiates 10:2)
("Right hand" also meant "Right side).


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Jordan S. Bassior

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Imperialist said:

>Nevertheless, hackers are like pests, a nuisiance. I had talked with a
>system administrator, who said all hackers should be executed and their
>executions should be broadcast all over the internet, like the burning
>of the heretics at the stakes.

I think that would be a bit extreme. Not all hackers are destructive hackers. I
do think that even non-destructive hacking, save under specific circumstances
(self-defense) is wrong, but it's more like being a Peeping Tom than a
dangerous felon, in non-cyber analogy.

Destructive hacking, on the other hand, should be punished severely ... but not
all destructive hacking is out-and-out murderous. Though much of it (especially
the deliberate release of viruses) would count as "depraved indifference" (some
computer viruses can kill if they get into certain kinds of software, such as
those controlling medical equipment). There's no reason you couldn't do first
degree murder via hacking if you planned it right (say you corrupted a
radiotherapy machine with a program that increased the dosage by several orders
of magnitude).

>A hackerless world would be dull, but more stable.

What you miss though is that you need those who know how to hack to protect you
against other who know how to hack. And that no matter what absurd severity you
punished hacking with, some people would still do it. And get away with it,
absent police hackers to oppose them.

>hackers threaten the foundation of society, the system of trust. That's
>why they are bad.

This is true.


Sincerely Yours,
Jordan

"Man, as we know him, is a poor creature; but he is halfway between an ape and
a god and he is travelling in the right direction." (Dean William R. Inge)

Malcolm

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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In article <20000209030923...@ng-ff1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:

> I think that would be a bit extreme. Not all hackers
> are destructive hackers.

The term is used in two senses - someone who enjoys
circumventing computer security systems (often called a
"cracker") and someone who changes code in a manner that
makes it more difficult to maintain. The second sort is the
bane of my life.


>I
> do think that even non-destructive hacking, save under
> specific circumstances
> (self-defense) is wrong, but it's more like being a
> Peeping Tom than a
> dangerous felon, in non-cyber analogy.

A good example of constructive hacking is disassembling
Windows to prove that Microsoft are illegally hiding calls,
to give their applications an unfair advantage over
competitors'.

> Though much of it (especially
> the deliberate release of viruses) would count as
> "depraved indifference" (some
> computer viruses can kill if they get into certain
> kinds of software, such as
> those controlling medical equipment).

Viruses are great fun. My favourite idea is "junk code" -
sequences of instructions specifically designed to have no
effects, and used in the viruse's encryption loop. Any
medical software would have to be terribly designed to be
at risk from viruses - Intel specifically say that the x86
is not designed for safety-critical applications, so if you
write your virus in x86 code you can't be accused of
endangering lives.

> And that no matter what absurd severity you
> punished hacking with, some people would still do it.
> And get away with it,

Exactly. It's an addictive thing, like doing drugs.

> >hackers threaten the foundation of society, the
> system of trust. That's
> >why they are bad.
> This is true.

No, computer systems threaten the foundation of society,
the ability to assume a new identity and leave old debts
behind. In Britain we now have surveillance cameras on
every street corner, often at the request of residents, and
on-one seems to have thought that one day this may be used
against us.

IMHO computers should be used for playing games and nothing
else. If immigration databases or credit reference scores
are corrupted by hackers then no-one will be happier than
me.


* Sent from AltaVista http://www.altavista.com Where you can also find related Web Pages, Images, Audios, Videos, News, and Shopping. Smart is Beautiful

Stephen Holland

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Imperialist <feud...@my-deja.com> writes:

> Somebody tried to hack my computer, not knowing I had taken protection
> against them. I expected somebody would hack my system sooner or later,
> since I was practically the only one in the Usenet who preached the
> unexpugated truth of millennia of history and the road of truth is a
> hard one.

Is there somewhere that I can buy a poster saying this?

=====================================================================
http://www.ifa.au.dk/~holland/index.html
Hypochondriacs get sick too.
=====================================================================

Nancy Lebovitz

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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In article <04d17460...@usw-ex0110-076.remarq.com>,

Malcolm <donald.mcl...@talk21.com.invalid> wrote:
>In article <20000209030923...@ng-ff1.aol.com>,
>jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
>
>> I think that would be a bit extreme. Not all hackers
>> are destructive hackers.
>The term is used in two senses - someone who enjoys
>circumventing computer security systems (often called a
>"cracker") and someone who changes code in a manner that
>makes it more difficult to maintain. The second sort is the
>bane of my life.

"Hacker" used to mean an extremely skillful programmer, but
that meaning's gotten lost in the mists of time, hasn't it?

--
Nancy Lebovitz na...@netaxs.com www.nancybuttons.com

The calligraphic button website is up!

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Nancy Lebovitz <na...@unix3.netaxs.com> wrote:
> In article <04d17460...@usw-ex0110-076.remarq.com>,
> Malcolm <donald.mcl...@talk21.com.invalid> wrote:
>>In article <20000209030923...@ng-ff1.aol.com>,
>>jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
>>
>>> I think that would be a bit extreme. Not all hackers
>>> are destructive hackers.
>>The term is used in two senses - someone who enjoys
>>circumventing computer security systems (often called a
>>"cracker") and someone who changes code in a manner that
>>makes it more difficult to maintain. The second sort is the
>>bane of my life.
>
> "Hacker" used to mean an extremely skillful programmer, but
> that meaning's gotten lost in the mists of time, hasn't it?

Hardly. It's still in use around the circles through which I move.

Some people object to the security-breaking definition as newer and wrong.
I don't. I can deal with a word with two definitions. (In fact, it's the
second one above that I'm unfamiliar with. A hack may be ugly,
unmaintainable code, but I haven't heard someone who does such things
referred to as a hacker.)

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

J. B. Moreno

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Nancy Lebovitz <na...@unix3.netaxs.com> wrote:

> Malcolm <donald.mcl...@talk21.com.invalid> wrote:
> >jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
> >
> >> I think that would be a bit extreme. Not all hackers
> >> are destructive hackers.
> >The term is used in two senses - someone who enjoys
> >circumventing computer security systems (often called a
> >"cracker") and someone who changes code in a manner that
> >makes it more difficult to maintain. The second sort is the
> >bane of my life.
>
> "Hacker" used to mean an extremely skillful programmer, but
> that meaning's gotten lost in the mists of time, hasn't it?

No. It's alive and well.

--
John B. Moreno

Malcolm

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
to
In article <87rphk$a...@netaxs.com>,
na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz) wrote:

>
> "Hacker" used to mean an extremely skillful programmer, but
> that meaning's gotten lost in the mists of time, hasn't it?
>

Hacking doesn't just mean circumventing passwords on networked systems, it
also means disassembling code (translating machine instructions to a
human-readable form) and generally doing things that the other programmer
doesn't want you to do. It can also mean understanding an undocumented system
inside out, even if barriers are not deliberately put in your way.

Hacking therefore takes a lot of skill. I'm not a hacker, as I don't have any
interest in making illegal copies of programs etc, and concentrate on writing
clean and efficient code. My skills are different to those of a hacker, but
I'd argue that I'm the better programmer.

The other sort of hack comes in two forms - the hack proper, which is a
poorly thought-out modification to code made to save programming time, and
the efficiency hack, which is similarly dangerous and liable to introduce
errors, but is made in the interests of increasing execution speed. Sometimes
I will make efficiency hacks myself, though I don't like doing so.

As you will have gathered I'm not altogether in favour of hackers, but to be
one you have to know a certain amount about programming.

Damien Neil

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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On Wed, 09 Feb 2000 20:44:15 GMT, Malcolm <malcolm...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>Hacking doesn't just mean circumventing passwords on networked systems, it
>also means disassembling code (translating machine instructions to a
>human-readable form) and generally doing things that the other programmer
>doesn't want you to do. It can also mean understanding an undocumented system
>inside out, even if barriers are not deliberately put in your way.

This definition is not one which I have ever seen used.

What follows is the definition given by the Jargon File
(http://earthspace.net/jargon/). While the "deprecated" note to
definition 8 is perhaps a bit optimistic, this definition closely
matches what I mean when I call myself a "hacker".

hacker /n./

[originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who
enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch
their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn
only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically
(even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just
theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack
value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at
a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on
it; as in `a Unix hacker'. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated,
and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any
kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys
the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing
limitations. 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover
sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker',
`network hacker'. The correct term for this sense is cracker.

The term `hacker' also tends to connote membership in the global community
defined by the net (see network, the and Internet address). It also
implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version
of the hacker ethic (see hacker ethic).

It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe
oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite
(a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are
gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in
identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not,
you'll quickly be labeled bogus). See also wannabee.

- Damien

dt king

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Damien Neil <ne...@grace.acm.rpi.edu> wrote in message
news:fYmo4.6095$Ea4.71542@nnrp2-

> What follows is the definition given by the Jargon File
> (http://earthspace.net/jargon/). While the "deprecated" note to
> definition 8 is perhaps a bit optimistic, this definition closely
> matches what I mean when I call myself a "hacker".

<snippage>

The negative aspects of hacking are becoming the predominate definition.
"Geek" seems to be taking over the positive definition. Back when I was
writing out Z-80 opcodes on a legal pad, I was a hacker. Now I'm the
company über-geek. I prefer chief information officer/technician, CIO(t).
Pronouned kie-oh-tee.

dtk

William December Starr

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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In article <87r42r$sqn$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Imperialist <feud...@my-deja.com> said:

> Somebody tried to hack my computer, not knowing I had taken protection
> against them. I expected somebody would hack my system sooner or
> later, since I was practically the only one in the Usenet who preached
> the unexpugated truth of millennia of history and the road of truth is
> a hard one.

Is it my imagination or is this guy getting less and less oxygen per day?

-- William December Starr <wds...@crl.com>


John Lee

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Feb 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/10/00
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Imperialist <feud...@my-deja.com> writes:

<snip>


> Nevertheless, hackers are like pests, a nuisiance. I had talked with a
> system administrator, who said all hackers should be executed and their
> executions should be broadcast all over the internet, like the burning
> of the heretics at the stakes.

<snip>

Was that an "ivy-educated" system administrator?

ObWI: what would happen if Quonnie's imaginary friends met Meza's
imaginary friends?

--

"No, Sir; there is nothing which has yet been
John contrived by man, by which so much happiness is
produced as by a good tavern or inn."

Keith

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Feb 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/10/00
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Stephen Holland wrote:

>
> Imperialist <feud...@my-deja.com> writes:
>
> > Somebody tried to hack my computer, not knowing I had taken protection
> > against them. I expected somebody would hack my system sooner or later,
> > since I was practically the only one in the Usenet who preached the
> > unexpugated truth of millennia of history and the road of truth is a
> > hard one.
>
> Is there somewhere that I can buy a poster saying this?

I've got a better one:

"In fact, I never continue learning past the point where I
have enough evidence to convince myself that my views are
correct."

Caught that one about two years ago. Although to be fair the guy who
wrote it was parodying people who did stuff like that.

--
Keith

Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

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Feb 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/11/00
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Wed, 09 Feb 2000 07:13:33 GMT: in <87r42r$sqn$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
Imperialist <feud...@my-deja.com> spake:

> Somebody tried to hack my computer, not knowing I had taken protection
>against them. I expected somebody would hack my system sooner or later,
>since I was practically the only one in the Usenet who preached the
>unexpugated truth of millennia of history and the road of truth is a
>hard one.

Well, since you're such a big fan of spreading only the *REAL* truth,
why not spread the correct, historical use of the words "hacker" and
"cracker"?

Peeter Seebach's Hacker FAQ
<http://www.plethora.net/~seebs/faqs/hacker.html>

How To Become A Hacker
<http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html>

A Brief History of Hackerdom
<http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/hacker-history/>

The Hacker's Jargon File 4.1.2
<http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/>

Robert Bickford's "Are YOU a Hacker?" article
<http://www.daft.com/~rab/ayah.html>

>Nevertheless, hackers are like pests, a nuisiance. I had talked with a
>system administrator, who said all hackers should be executed and their
>executions should be broadcast all over the internet, like the burning
>of the heretics at the stakes.

Yes, but real sysadmins say that about almost all computer (l)users.

"If I cannot use the users as playthings, I don't really see
too much purpose in having them on my systems."
-Chris Magagna (chris#uidaho.edu)

-- <a href="http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/"> Mark Hughes </a>

rtro...@my-deja.com

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Feb 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/11/00
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In article <20000209030923...@ng-ff1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
> Imperialist said:
>
> >Nevertheless, hackers are like pests, a nuisiance. I had talked with a
> >system administrator, who said all hackers should be executed and their
> >executions should be broadcast all over the internet, like the burning
> >of the heretics at the stakes.
>
> I think that would be a bit extreme. Not all hackers are destructive hackers. I

> do think that even non-destructive hacking, save under specific circumstances
> (self-defense) is wrong, but it's more like being a Peeping Tom than a
> dangerous felon, in non-cyber analogy.
>
> Destructive hacking, on the other hand, should be punished severely ... but not
> all destructive hacking is out-and-out murderous. Though much of it (especially

> the deliberate release of viruses) would count as "depraved indifference" (some
> computer viruses can kill if they get into certain kinds of software, such as
> those controlling medical equipment). There's no reason you couldn't do first
> degree murder via hacking if you planned it right (say you corrupted a
> radiotherapy machine with a program that increased the dosage by several orders
> of magnitude).

Actually, that's pretty similar to an episode of "Law and Order" made a
couple years ago. A teenage hacker, taking revenge against a doctor who
couldn't cure his father's blindness, hacked into the doctor's clinic and
killed people by increasing their medication levels to lethal levels. The
hacker hoped that if he killed enough patients, the doctor would be
driven out of business. Pretty scary.


>
> >A hackerless world would be dull, but more stable.
>
> What you miss though is that you need those who know how to hack to protect you

> against other who know how to hack. And that no matter what absurd severity you


> punished hacking with, some people would still do it. And get away with it,

> absent police hackers to oppose them.
>

> >hackers threaten the foundation of society, the system of trust. That's
> >why they are bad.
>
> This is true.
>

> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
>
> "Man, as we know him, is a poor creature; but he is halfway between an ape and
> a god and he is travelling in the right direction." (Dean William R. Inge)
>

David Eppstein

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Steve Taylor <st...@afs.net.au> writes:
> Joseph Hertzlinger wrote:
> > On the other hand, it is equally obvious that setting up a centrally
> > planned language is preposterous.
> Surely you mean 'doubleplusungood'?

How shall the state be most vigorous? It shall be most vigorous when it
is without conflict. How shall it be without conflict? When it is
without disagreement. How shall disagreement be banished? By banishing
the four causes of disagreement: lies, foolish talk, boastful talk, and
talk which serves only to incite quarrels. How shall the four causes be
banished? By speaking only Correct Thought. Then shall the state be
without disagreement. Being without disagreement it shall be without
conflict. Being without conflict it shall be vigorous, strong, and
secure.
--
David Eppstein UC Irvine Dept. of Information & Computer Science
epps...@ics.uci.edu http://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/

Steve Taylor

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes wrote:

> Well, since you're such a big fan of spreading only the *REAL* truth,
> why not spread the correct, historical use of the words "hacker" and
> "cracker"?

My answer to that would be 'Because the majority of people don't
recognise that definition, and never will, no matter how much justice is
on your side.'

Sometimes linguistic battles are just plain lost. IMHO and all that...

Steve

Joseph Hertzlinger

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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On the one hand, this is an obvious case of market failure.

Steve Taylor

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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Joseph Hertzlinger wrote:

> On the other hand, it is equally obvious that setting up a centrally
> planned language is preposterous.

Surely you mean 'doubleplusungood'?

Steve

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